Accessible Algarve

A Cat with Every House

First Published January 9, 2012 by Constance

Chaneco, our first casa cat in Salir. When you live in Portugal, it doesn’t matter if you buy or rent, you can be certain of two things. There will be obnoxiously barking dogs within one or two properties of yours and your house or apartment will be equipped with a cat.

The dogs you can’t do anything about. They are usually safe and sound in the neighbor’s backyard garden, protecting whatever their little doggie brains decide need their fierce alert. That lets the other dogs know they have to sound the alarm and at any time of the day, and mostly in the middle of the night. The village is probably awaken thinking “#%@*% Dogs!”

Goodbye America…How Are You?

First Published September 11th 2010 by Constance 

In the words of my favorite overdosed blues rocker, Janis Joplin, “Tomorrow man, there ain’t no tomorrow…it’s just all one day…ya know man” then she slurred her way into the epic “Try” and into my personal herstory books.

My “one long day” is rising and setting on the western coast of Portugal.  With three pieces of luggage weighing 70 pounds each, a laptop and my Euros, my passport and fiscal number, my one way ticket in hand, I boarded the one plane a day into Lisbon.  “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose”, an inspirational earworm singing in my head, thanks Janis and of course Kris.

Now here I am, north of Lisbon, in a tiny village on the Atlantic.  The only U.S. citizen around as far as I can tell. OK by me!  After a month of taking all this in, this is what I have learned and am sharing in case you are thinking of selling everything and fleeing to a new land: 

Obidos Chocolate Festival

Our First Americano Visits

First Published March 16th 2011 by Constance 


After seven months, learning but not really being able to communicate in local lingo and only mixing with local ex-pats about as often as I will eat bacalhau, I haven’t realized how much I have longed to hang out with one of my “people ” until yesterday when one showed up at the casa.

Skype, e-mails, face book, Oovoo, even my little stories help me stay connected to my beloveds back across the big salty swimming pool, we see each other and chat away depending on how the server is behaving. For instance, I know tonight in my ex-littlehometown will be the eight year anniversary protest against the war. At 9pm Portugal time they will be holding their signs on “Peace Corner”. I can picture it in my mind and raise a toast at 10:15pm, about when the protest is over and it’s cocktail time.

The beautiful result!

A very Bad-Calhau Christmas

First Published December 27th 2010 by Constance


Holidays mean food. I know there are religious, political and other cultural reasons, but it all comes down to food really. So we HAD to celebrate the first Christmas in Portugal as Portuguese as we could. And that means Bacalhau, salted cod. Or as we now call it, Bad-calhau.

Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, is a codfish, potato and onion casserole with eggs and black olives sprinkled on top, loaded with garlic and olive oil.  Very traditional according to our well googled recipe:


“One of the most famous Portuguese bacalhau recipes.  …invented by a cook…whose father was a bacalhau trader himself  …worked in a restaurant in Porto.  His innovation was to marinate the cod flakes in warm milk in order to give the fish a softer texture.”

Christmas lights and Cobblestones

First Published November 29th 2010 by Constance 


Europe’s antique streets look even more romantic and inviting on a crisp cool evening when the town swithes on the Christmas lights. Chestnuts roasting, cobblestones and walking arm in arm under sparking lights.

The holidays have begun and I am obviously in a very different world than I left. 

A bout of homesickness hit on Thanksgiving, my number one favorite holiday. I love the smell of roasting turkey as the freezing Rockettes high kick in precision in front of Macy’s between the Snoopy balloon and the McDonalds All American Marching Band. I longed to get my hands into the traditional family stuffing recipe and fill that big organic bird with yummy-ness, set the table and have the collection of mis-matched chairs with the odd collection of family and friends that always end up in my home on the fourth Thursday in November. 

Finding my new Molly

 I need a Portuguese Molly!

Every day I have a “gosh, I am living here” bomb hit me, but still the everyday and not so everyday realities of picking up and living in another country can be, well, overwhelming. 

Not being able to speak Portuguese for instance. It was OK at first, but now it is getting to be a problem. And I just have to face the fact; I am bad at learning languages, at least this one. Somehow I thought I would absorb it into my skin like my organic skin cream. And my pronunciation, I was speaking (or trying) to a friend one night and she begged me to please speak in English. My deadly attempt at her language was so painful she just could not handle it, and that was a friend! Imagine the people trying to understand which type of bread I want when there is a line of customers behind me. So, I come home with weird stuff that I didn’t want. Yep, it’s not soaking in, I guess I just have to study…..damn. 

Also, finding your special “people”. After two months without one, I am desperate for a pedicure. And my eyebrows (plus the upper lip) are out of control. Now that may sound trite to most of you, but for the pedicure addicts, and people who have had the great luck of knowing a person who you trust with your feet and eyebrows, and then, being adrift without them….it’s horrible! I just don’t know what to do without my Molly! So I have been on a quest to find my Portuguese “Molly”. 

I Love Recumbent Trikes and Devon

First Published July 17, 2017 by Constance


For nine days in May I lived in a Constable painting…and got to ride two recumbent trikes.

Even if you don’t know what a recumbent trike is, you have probably seen one. It has 3 wheels, is low to the ground. The rider sits in a type of recliner seat. You can pedal with your feet in front of you, or if you can’t pedal with your legs, you can pedal with your hands. I decided I wanted one a few months ago but never ridden on a “bent”. Getting around on a mobility scooter is like using the Popemobile, you just sit there. It does the job but scooters are really boring.


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